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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 7:31 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
I'm not sure. I got that impression from an allergist that I consulted on behalf of my son's daycare about 2 years ago.

The teachers there wanted to know if their using hand lotion and creams with nut oil in them could cause problems to allergic children. He said that there was a risk (a) of the kids having localized reactions and (b) of them developing an allergy because of the exposure to the nut oils. So best for the teachers to not use those kinds of creams and lotions.

I didn't specify what the children at the daycare were allergic to, so I took it that if you already have allergies, you are at greater risk of developing a new allergy with repeat exposure. Maybe the worry is nuts, since nut allergies cause so many reactions.

But let me contact him to confirm.

K.

_________________
Karen, proud Mom of
- DS1 (12 yrs): allergic to cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts, potatoes, some legumes, some fish, pumpkin seeds; OAS
- DS2 (1o yrs): ana. to dairy, eggs, peanuts; asthma


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 8:31 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
I've probably told this story before, but until a skin prick test, I didn't think I was allergic to sesame. I hadn't eaten sesame in *years* . . .but when I was a kid, I'd occasionally have buns with sesame seed on them. (I wouldn't have tried something with tons of sesame like sesame snaps, however, because one of my siblings had a more severe reaction to them.)

Anyhow, I was using a cream with sesame oil . . . I used it for a long period of time. The wheal for sesame was *huge* the last time I had a skin prick test done---it was larger than for other nuts. I'm thinking there is a connection . . .


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 11:36 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
Here's the scoop that I got...

1. Shea is a tree indigenous to Africa, occurring in Mali, Cameroon, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, Burkina Faso and Uganda. The shea fruit, called a nut, contains a seed much like an avocado, from which is extracted shea butter, which has multiple uses.

2. The US FDA has included the shea nut as a "tree nut" and there is legislation to include this in their labeling laws. (See http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/alrguid4.html ). It does not seem to be part of the food families of the other nuts.

3. My allergist contact said it should not cause problems for nut allergic patients (especially since topical exposure does not normally cause systemic reactions). He did say that in theory, there is a risk that kids using this as a topical (i.e on their skin) can become sensitized to it but that there is currently little info on that.

4. Something interesting that he mentioned to me: studies by Gideon Lack in the U.K. have shown that environmental exposure to nuts (e.g. nuts in creams, other people in the house eating nuts) rather than eating them may be a more important risk factor for the development of nut allergies.

See http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20030315/food.asp for an article about that.

Quote:
Some of the emollients [with peanut oil in them] had been marketed as treatments for diaper rash, and a few were targeted to scaly scalps. In the new study, children whose skin had been exposed to such peanut-oil-laced products were 6.8 times as likely to develop peanut allergy as those exposed only to peanutfree products.


Quote:
A mom's ingestion of peanut products makes no difference, Lack concludes. "Only when the peanut oil is applied to the infant's skin does it seems to make a difference—and particularly if the skin was inflamed."


Quote:
This suggests, he says, that "low-dose exposures through a route other than the gastrointestinal tract may actually switch on an allergy." Higher exposures, he says, tend to switch on another part of the immune system, which correlates with the development of tolerance. In other words, exposures to tiny amounts of proteins, such as can contaminate peanut oil, "may in fact be more allergenic than high-dose exposures."


5. Apparently Gideon Lack is now doing a study to see if early ingestion to peanuts in infants is actually protective - something I did not know.

See http://www.pca.com.au/articles.php?rc=716 for some details.

Of course, as we all know, nothing is black & white and there are no absolutes when it comes to allergies, but I will continue to keep shea nut butter away from my nut-allergic kids.

K.

_________________
Karen, proud Mom of
- DS1 (12 yrs): allergic to cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts, potatoes, some legumes, some fish, pumpkin seeds; OAS
- DS2 (1o yrs): ana. to dairy, eggs, peanuts; asthma


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 10:31 am 
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Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 12:09 am
Posts: 1054
Thanks for taking the time to clarify that Karen, very interesting...I had heard that the increased use of peanut oil in diaper rash creams was linked to an increase in peanut allergy in children.
I wonder if you are *only* peanut allergic, and not tree nut allergic, if the risk of sensitization to shea nut is the same. I usually take a conservative approach where allergies are concerned too but I'm conflicted because we use the Aveeno cream that has shea butter in it because it does the trick in keeping my son's eczema under control -- the regular Aveeno wasn't doing it. I really don't like the idea of having to use cortisone on eczema patches if something else helps keep it at bay...oh well -- I know there is no one easy answer...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 10:08 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
It is hard to know what to do. I'm sure no one will say "go ahead and use it - no worries" because there is no proof one way or the other if it will cause problems. No one would want to be responsible, which is why I'm sure allergists are saying, "if you're not sure, avoid it."

Five to ten years from now likely someone will have done a study and shown that there is no risk... or a whole bunch of people who were only allergic to one thing suddenly become allergic to shea nuts. And then we'll know. :?

K.

_________________
Karen, proud Mom of
- DS1 (12 yrs): allergic to cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts, potatoes, some legumes, some fish, pumpkin seeds; OAS
- DS2 (1o yrs): ana. to dairy, eggs, peanuts; asthma


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 9:59 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 1:10 pm
Posts: 44
Location: Clarington
Interesting that this topic should also arise as I am looking for a safe skin care products. When I last had my son to the allergist(summer 2005) at the allergy clinic at Sick Kids, I inquired about shea nuts(although it is a fruit). At the time, I was advised that as it is a fruit it was not an issue. I was the first to bring this ingredient to his attention. It would be interesting to see if in his practice it has subsequently become an issue.

So presently I am trying to ascertain if the shea tree(also referred to as karite) is botanically related to tree nuts(which thus far it does not seem to be but I am still digging). And having said that what about the fact that my son is allergic to peanuts but not other legumes?And what about the fact that on a scratch test he shows positive for some nuts but not all? And what about the lychee? And what about.......

Risk management is such a tightrope walk! It seems that the more questions I ask, the less I know. And I am not new to dealing with allergies. Do you suppose ignorance is bliss?

Like ethansmom said, clearly there is no easy answer.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 10:23 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 03, 2006 8:23 pm
Posts: 190
According to several reputable sites, including http://www.allergicliving.com/columns.asp?feature=73 shea nuts are tree nuts. On another site describing botanical classifications, I read that the 'nut' is under the fruit layer. According to the above Q&A, there are no known reports of allergy to shea. On the other hand, perhaps it's possible that until their use over the past few years, most of our immune systems have never encountered them. As for me, I'm avoiding just in case.

Yesterday, I noticed a popular breastfeeding cream containing both shea butter and mango seed. I couldn't believe it. As I keep saying -- however sarcastically -- what a great way to sensitize an entire new generation of children. :shock:


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 Post subject: curel lotions
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 4:40 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 4:35 pm
Posts: 115
Location: Vancouver
I see nor curel is also making a line with shea..i wrote to them inquiring re cross contam with their origional creams..below is their response



Re: Kao Brands Company, Reference # 001586889A.

Shairose:

Shea butter is a very common skin care ingredient that is typically not a cause of concern. However, we have listened to our Curel consumers' concerns regarding Shea butter. We have removed the Shea butter from our Continuous Comfort Fragrance Free. This change is reflected in the ingredient statement. Please look for the modified product on store shelves. In the meantime, if you have a concern about Shea butter and nut allergies, it is recommended that you not use the product.

Thank you for the opportunity to be of service.


Cordially,

Kao Brands Consumer Relations Department
Ban Biore Curel Jergens John Frieda


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